Firstly – a big thank you to those who already have made donations on my Give a Little page ! The next blog post will explain in more detail what this is all about.
Now – back to the last leg of our whirlwind 3 weeks travels in the South of the South Island of NZ.
Leaving Dunedin bright and early to escape a predicted storm (which turned out to be rather destructive in fact) we stopped briefly at the Moeraki Boulders. Now those are strange rock boulders – most like big marbles – washed onto the beach – they are just laying like pearls that have come of the string along this stretch of Otago Coast. Nobody is really sure how they were formed or got there but there are a few theories – I could not care less really – they look fantastic and make for a good photo opportunity.
Turning inland there is another stop that is interesting from a historical point of view. Many people have heard of Aboriginal rock drawings in Australia and of course there are plenty of cave paintings from Neolithic people around the world – especially in caves in Europe and Northern Africa – but did you know that Maori did also create superb art works along cliff faces? Here’s the proof:
Unfortunately there is not much left – partly because of natural erosion – but also due to lovely antiquarians in the 1800’s who thought by taking these away to a museum they are preserving them… hmm…
The road to Aoraki/Mt Cook (or rather the village named after our highest peak) drags on a bit but there are amazing vista’s along the way and one can’t possibly stop after every turn… but I would have liked to.
The village itself is not really a village – it is basically a cluster of hotels/motels and a DOC office – dominated really by the Hermitage Hotel and the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre within the main building. It is very expensive to stay or eat here – but one really needs to stay at least two nights as the weather is so unpredictable and missing a hike or seeing Aoraki/Mt Cook as a result would really put a damper to every stay.
So we did stay two nights and boy was it cold – not inside of course – we had central heating – but outside – in my 10 years in New Zealand I never had to de-ice the windscreen of my car!!! It snowed and we went on a 5hr hike to the terminal of the Hooker Glacier in the morning and I really wished for my winter hiking pants (trousers for the British readers!).
I’ve done this hike 3 years ago in strong wind and it did not feel as long then – but also they have upgraded the walk – with 3 new swing bridges – I did prefer the old ones… and the end of the hike is now on the right hand side of the glacier – 3 years ago it was on the left of the lake – I guess because the glacier had shrunk to much and could not longer be seen from the left side.. who knows.
Oh – and yes – we DID see Aoraki/Mt Cook – but only early morning and it wrapped itself into clouds for the rest of the day and the next. But hey – it only takes a few minutes to take a nice photo..
Unfortunately this also meant the end of our little holiday down south – it went far to quickly and cost much more than I anticipated but I would not have missed a minute of it. Haven’t spend that much time with my parents alone EVER – so there you go – there is a first time for everything!